A response? All right. Would these little footnotes suffice?
I would remind the reader that participation in elections in the old Soviet Union were quite high; close to 98% or so. Not voting in said elections had been made illegal by law, of course, and these laws I have heard carried substantial penalties. The old Soviet system also had single party elections, a tradition the Sandanistas followed until forced otherwise via U.N insistence and supervision. The Sandanistas then promptly lost.
The ‘voluntary’ nature of elections in a country run by the Sandanistas, or any other communist junta, is always suspect. I seem to remember mines being laid around election areas in El Salvador by Sandanista sponsored ‘freedom fighters’ - must have been more disinformation from the right-wing media organs of the U.S.
Range of Political Choice
Again, I repeat: the elections in Nicaragua were run with only communists participating, until the intervention of the U.N., backed by forces from the United States. After that, of course, the variety was quite admirable. The locals certainly agreed.
Access to the Ballot
I remember libertarians getting their candidate on the ballot fairly often in my home state; the ‘Greens’ also managed to get their allotted signatures. In any case, I have always found the big, empty write-in space useful for expressing my own alternative, when none of the aspirants suited my tastes. Thus, in a sense, anyone can ‘get on the ballot’ in the U.S.
Incidentally, electorial rules of this sort are meant to prevent politically motivated fanatics from swamping a poorly populated area with a ‘majority rule’ of the moment. The old cattle-barons were notorious for this tactic; I also recollect a certain guru and his followers … I wouldn’t put it past the communists to use similar techniques, and thus I am in favor of these special rules, as are most of the electorate. As we are a democratic country, these rules are thus the law.
Accessibility to the Electorate
You cannot be serious. Do you really believe that candidates got ‘equal time’ in the likes of La Barricada? Do you know that the Chamorro’s paper, La Prenza, was surpressed by the Sandanistas? Please. (Equal time, on ‘state-run’ radio … Indeed!)
Absence of Coercion
Leftist usually get ‘coerced’ when they incite riots. This is of course what the purpose of the riot is all about. Left-wing activists have similarly been ‘coerced’ for making bombs, planning bank robberies and assassinations (of which one Ms. Davis is quite notorious), and other such ‘publicity stunts’.
As for the Nicaraguans: I seem to remember a failed attempt at genocide, directed at the Miskito indians in 1980. They subsequently turned from their luke-warm support for the regime to outright hostility. I have been told that the indians ‘deserved it’ …
I agree that the subsequent elections overseen by the U.N. were run much better. As in the former Yugoslavia, there is a sudden reasonability that comes over communist (and ex-communist) ‘leaders of the people’ when confronted by AmericanBloc-led military force. Now that kind of coercion I support, as do most ethnically-cleansed types as well.
System of Representation
If you would argue the virtues of the European as opposed to the Anglo-American system of power-sharing, you would be on stronger ground. During the period when the Sandanistas enjoyed ‘64% of the electorate’, they had armed supporters in the streets of Managua. That sort of ‘representation’ is a system more similar to, say, that of Mussolini and his blackshirts.
In any case - the majority of people who, at the time, were strongly against the FSLN were voting with their lives at the time. I seem to recall them winning, too.
See ‘Miskito indians’. Also, does nepotism count for anything anymore, or was Danny Ortega’s brother really that qualified? The same might be said for Fidel’s family, or the 'B’aath' tendencies of one Mr. Hussein (Tikrit being rather unduly represented in this neo-Stalinist state). And so on. Or is the FSLN in fact a conservative movement, meant to establish a more traditional feudalism amongst the peasants? Might this be why so many Sandanista activists found themselves such large landowners during the war? Or is that what 'land redistribution' is all about?
You might as well say that Germans have a less democratic government; I seem to remember a similar issue with a Jewish minority there. Or do you claim that the modern American state is the heir of the ultra-nationalists of the Indian wars? I assure you - if we were, this discussion would not be necessary.
(Incidentally, I applaud the fact that we do not murder our dissenters in the streets. Unfortunately, communists seem to feel excused in this behavior, and thus ought to be opposed by decent people. QED.)
As in Cuba, religious persecution was certainly attempted in Nicaragua. Unlike Cuba, in Nicaragua the attempt was disasterous. The attempts at imposing ‘liberation theology’ on the natives likewise antagonized more people than it ‘converted’. Thus, as is stated correctly, the Catholic Church is still a powerful force in Nicaragua - in spite of, rather than because of the tolerance of, the communist regime during that relatively brief period.
I of course would assume that a more successful revolution would have led to more concrete ‘gains’. After all, Hitler did not start slaughtering Jews en masse until 1942 or so; Stalin also started relatively late with the Ukrainian kulaks, well after he had established his ‘iron’ rule over the Russian people. The Nicaraguans never had that much support, and contented themselves with the murder and oppression of weaker sub-groups within their society.
Nicaragua obviously has a better track record of meeting human needs, doesn’t it? Why then don’t you get your ‘human needs’ fulfilled there, instead of pontificating in the ‘relative poverty’ of the United States?
Incidentally, I was never aware that I had a ‘human need’ for revolutionary taxes and a political re-education. Although I would agree with you that, at many supposed ‘institutions of higher learning’ in the U.S. (run quite openly by sympathizers of these ‘Latin human resource managers’), environments are created with might be compared less favorably to those enjoyed by Nicaraguan peons.
Just one more point. I quite actively campaigned against the Sandanistas in college, enduring death-threats to do so. I am not in the least bit impressed by their new-found belief in democracy since their defeat, ‘Ode to Joy’ and all. Let them keep house with the Klan and the Bolsheviks, for I’ll have no part in their rhetorical wrigglings. I’ve as much respect for this sort of thing as I have for Nazi revisionism.
"Doc" Cruel (Pompous-Buffoon-at-Large)